High School Diplomats** is a program very near and dear to my heart. I was a student in the program back in 2005, and ever since then I’ve worked as a staff member. The program has sent me to Japan twice, and has introduced me to the most amazing and talented group of individuals who have become my second family. One of the most difficult parts about being so invested in this type of program, is that it is incredibly difficult to explain exactly how this experience has impacted me. But on the other hand, for that same reason is why HSD is so unique. You have to experience it yourself to really understand what it’s all about.

After seven summers with the program, I’ve learned a lot, not only about another country and another culture, but also about myself. And after seven summers, I still struggle to find the words to describe my appreciation for the program and all that it’s given me.

But despite the difficulty, HSD is too important to go unnoticed and to not spread the word to everyone I know. So a few weeks ago, I interviewed a few former and current staff members. I asked them a series of questions mainly about how they got involved in the program, how they think HSD is unlike any other summer program, and why they think it’s important for other’s to experience. After about 120 minutes of solid footage, I narrowed it down to about 11 minutes, split into 3 videos. I interspersed some footage from the program this past summer to add to the experience and give you a taste of what life at Princeton in July is like.

The staff members spoke from the heart, and none of this was rehearsed. What you see is what you get, and hopefully by hearing them talk you can see and maybe even feel the passion they have for the program.

Here are two of the three videos. I hope you can take a little break in your day to listen to these guys talk about a program that has played a big role in who I am today.


“It is that first year when you do HSD as a student, that is one of the most eye-opening experiences any high school student can have anywhere.” -Rachel Easter, HSD 2004 student


“This is just a small stepping stone for many people’s lives, but it’s the strongest foundation for me that I’ve ever had in my life.” -Machel Ross, HSD 2008 student


**High School Diplomats is a cultural exchange program between Japanese and American high school students that takes place at Princeton University. If you know me, it’s the “Japan program” that I’ve been talking about for the past 7 years. If you don’t know me, it’s a great opportunity for all sophomore and junior HS students, and you should go to www.highschooldiplomats.com to learn more about it!